Heather Knight hoping England and India put on good show to push women’s Tests

Captain Heather Knight hopes England and India can put on a good show in Mumbai to push women’s Test cricket to the fore.

After winning the three-match Twenty20 series, England’s tour concludes with a Test – their first since a narrow Ashes loss to Australia in June.

Played over five days rather than the usual four, that contest fully lived up to its billing and Knight admitted her team felt extra pressure because of the paucity of opportunities in the format.

“We always feel as players when we play Test cricket that we’re fighting for the format a little bit because we don’t play a lot of it and obviously we want to make it entertaining and exciting for people to watch because we want Test cricket to carry on,” she said.

“I’m super excited to don the whites again. It is really special because we don’t play it that often and it’s bucket-list stuff to play a Test match in India as a cricketer.”

While this is a one-off match, Knight hopes there will be a move towards more multi-format series like the Ashes, where points are awarded across Test, one day and T20 matches, leading to an overall winner.

“I think the multi-format that we play in the Ashes – and that we’ve played against India previously – really gives that Test match context in the wider series because, if you play a one-off, it’s quite hard to know what it means,” she said.

England v Australia – The Women's Ashes 2023 – First Test – Day Five – Trent Bridge
This will be England’s first Test match since June (Tim Goode/PA)

“I’d love to see some more multi-format cricket played domestically around the world as programmes professionalise.

“I think it’s really good for skill development as players but obviously T20 has been the thing that’s pushed women’s cricket in particular forward so you almost don’t want to lose that as well.

“I think it’s a really hard balance that the administrators have got to find to incorporate it.”

Knight admits the lack of Test experience makes selections and tactics a challenge but she now feels more comfortable over the long format.

“It actually makes selections quite hard because you’re not going on a lot of information,” she said.

Heather Knight, left, shakes hands with India's captain Harmanpreet Kaur
Heather Knight (left) shook hands with India’s captain Harmanpreet Kaur (Rajanish Kakade/AP)

“The Test matches we have played in the last few years, we’ve learned a lot from and I think as an individual you learn the ebbs and flows of how you want to go about batting, for example.

“I’ve learned a lot more in my last three or four Test matches and felt like I’ve really started to work out a method and know the tempo you want to go at. I think that’s the hardest thing.

“Earlier in my career I went too much into my shell and too defensive because I thought that was how you played red-ball cricket but I think it’s all about scoring runs.”

A Test match victory in India would certainly be a feather in England’s cap, and Knight added: “It would be a great finish for the team.

“It was so pleasing that T20 series. I think the way we played in it, obviously with a T20 World Cup coming up, it feels like we’re in a really strong place and are really building a bigger squad with competition for places and also exposing some younger players to conditions they haven’t faced too much of.

“Obviously we’re going to have to play really well. It’s really tough playing cricket out here with the heat, the humidity, the different conditions.

“It would be really satisfying if we can have a really good four days and come out with a big W ready for Christmas back home.”